NSA Admins and Privacy

While reading through an Intercept article on the NSA’s XKEYSCORE program (simply put: a search engine for data captured by the NSA), I came across this gem: When systems administrators log into XKEYSCORE servers to configure them, they appear to use a shared account, under the name “oper.” Adams notes, “That means that changes madeContinue reading “NSA Admins and Privacy”

Making Sure It’ll Be Published

In an interview published yesterday, NYT reporter Peter Maass asked Edward Snowden why he didn’t go to one of the big US newspapers with the NSA documents. His answer: After 9/11, many of the most important news outlets in America abdicated their role as a check to power — the journalistic responsibility to challenge theContinue reading “Making Sure It’ll Be Published”

Breaking Net Neutrality Means Paying More For Less

Over the recent months, EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes has been talking about net neutralitiy a lot. Sadly, that’s the most positive thing that can be said about her involvement in the matter, as this analysis of proposed regulation from La Quadrature du Net shows: Why the EU Commission’s True Intent is to Kill Net NeutralityContinue reading “Breaking Net Neutrality Means Paying More For Less”

A Republic — If You Can Keep It

Yesterday, I listened to a very interesting talk by Lawrence Lessig, titeled “We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim“, in which he describes how the US political system depends on a select few rather than the People, promotes dysfunction, and how difficult it is to change that — and why he is tryingContinue reading “A Republic — If You Can Keep It”

Welcome, Mr. Snowden!

Although the German government rejected Edward Snowden’s request for asylum, the German Pirate Party would be happy to welcome him to Germany. So happy, in fact, that today at 1 PM Pirates were waiting to welcome Mr. Snowden at eight airports throughout Germany, like these four in Hannover! While no-one seriously expected Mr. Snowden toContinue reading “Welcome, Mr. Snowden!”

Surveillance: Fundamentally Wrong

“It seems to me that any government prepared to subject its citizens to mass surveillance is by definition the wrong one. No one can be trusted with powers as wide and inscrutable as these.” — George Monbiot in The Guardian, 2013-06-24 At the point where a surveillance system of any kind is built, things areContinue reading “Surveillance: Fundamentally Wrong”

No Access to Passwords!

Recently, here in Germany several laws were passed concerning law enforcement access to user data stored with internet access or service providers, like mail, social media or cloud storage. There are all kinds of things wrong with those laws, threatening privacy in principle, being overly broad, and severly lacking controls (details vary by state, summaryContinue reading “No Access to Passwords!”

Standardized Evil is no less Evil

Maybe you’ve heard about the proposal to include „Encrypted Media Extensions“ (EME) into the HTML5 standard. In short, EME would provide a standardized way to require an unspecified decryption module to play media streams on an HTML5 page, mainly for the purpose of DRM. Those who want to sell it say DRM is short forContinue reading “Standardized Evil is no less Evil”

Reading Recommendation: “The Boston Marathon Bombing: Keep Calm and Carry On”

I’ve written about damage done by fear before, and here’s another example. Just one day after the bombing at the Boston Marathon, politicians here in Germany are calling for new surveillance laws. The same politicians who are always in favor of more surveillance, of course. This is terribly disrespectful towards the victims and their families,Continue reading “Reading Recommendation: “The Boston Marathon Bombing: Keep Calm and Carry On””

Not Just A Nokia Problem!

Death Twitches: Nokia Caught Wiretapping Encrypted Traffic From Its Handsets You’ve probably heard about the Nokia wiretapping thing already, but if not the link above will fill you in. This is another example why it is bad that phone manufacturers usually remain in control of phones after sale, and it’s not just a Nokia problem.Continue reading “Not Just A Nokia Problem!”